Stephen Layton conductor
Alexandra Woods violin
Catherine Carby mezzo-soprano
Tavener Supernatural Songs
Gavin Bryars The Voice of St Columba
Arvo Pärt Fratres
Sanctity and ritual are the hallmarks of this concert featuring contemporary music influenced by spirituality and contemplation. Regular audiences still talk about the performances of the late Sir John Tavener's epic The Veil of the Temple at the 2006 Festival. We remember him with a much more intimate work: the Supernatural Songs is an ethereal tour de force for mezzo-soprano and orchestra inspired by the poems of W.B. Yeats.
Gavin Bryar's The Voice of St Columba sets two poems by the sixth-century saint. Simple and direct, it is a work of lucid orchestration that emphasizes the singers and the text.
Inspired by the timeless beauty of Gregorian chant, Arvo Pärt's Litany is a soaring and mesmerising choral setting of the 24 prayers of St John Chysostom. Fratres, one of Pärt's most familiar pieces, is a set of variations that ranges from frantic intricacy to sublime serenity.